Poems by Irene Hays

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by Irene Hays

From Canary Spring 2010

Irene lives in the semi-arid shrub steppe near the confluence of the Columbia and Yakima Rivers in southeastern Washington State.

The way of being I know best
takes me to the edge

of the river where I kneel,
reach into the pure ripple,

let silver threads lace my fingers,
take from me only
what swells the river’s
coursing wildness

leaves me

Eyes of the Universe

by Irene Hays

From Canary Spring 2011

If, as Thoreau says,
we are the eyes of the universe,
to whom do we report our findings?

We gather data for years, lead with the heart,
as natural as hunger or breathing.
Each day opens new,
the smallest bits a kaleidoscope of hope.

Who needs to know
when everything comes home at last,
into the arms of wildness,
deep as forever.

Rustles in the Underbrush

by Irene Hays

From Canary Winter 2009-10

Pygmy rabbit
the smallest of its species
might fit inside a wren’s nest.

Sagebrush lizard
scruffs his way along,
blue belly to the sand.

Burrowing owl
at home underground
measures only a hand-span.

Barely heard
seen only out of the corner of your eye
soon not at all.


by Irene Hays

From Canary Summer 2010

What if we face the universe unbarred
no stories to make the strange familiar
no need to make a dog or a dipper of the stars
or explain the turn of the earth or a cloud gone dark
no old stories to deconstruct, say, religion or a tired metaphor?
What would it be like to live always at the threshold
of an ever generative universe
no fresher air at any glacier peak?

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